The holy city of Amritsar shivered in the winter chill today as temperatures ranged from a maximum of 10°C to a minimum of 6°C. Despite the nippy weather, the Golden Temple, a spiritual beacon for millions, continued to draw the faithful, showcasing an unwavering commitment to tradition.
While the footfall at the revered site experienced a slight dip, the devotion of the devotees remained unaffected. Even in the face of cold and foggy conditions, many chose not to forgo the sacred practice of taking a holy dip in the sarovar. The dedicated volunteers engaged in ‘sewa,’ the act of selfless service, continued to clean the ‘parikrama,’ ensuring an uninterrupted spiritual atmosphere.
Bhagwant Singh Dhangera, the manager of the Golden Temple, acknowledged the weather’s impact on the turnout of outstation devotees. “The cold and fog, coupled with disruptions in air and train traffic, may be contributing to the lower attendance from devotees outside the region,” he remarked. Despite this, he noted a steady influx of devotees from Amritsar and nearby areas.
Supporting his observation, Dhangera revealed, “Previously, around 8.5 quintals of flour were consumed daily in the community kitchen for preparing langar. However, in recent days, the consumption has decreased to 5 quintals, indicating a shift in the demographic of the visitors.”
To make the visit more comfortable for the devotees, additional mats and warm carpets have been strategically placed on the stairs, floors, and even the ‘parikrama’ area. These carpets extend into the inner corridors and the open space outside Akal Takht, providing a cozy space for worshippers.
In a bid to shield the sanctum sanctorum from the biting cold, special carpets now line the causeway leading to the innermost shrine. Moreover, the traditional practice of keeping the four doors open has been temporarily replaced with thick curtains, preventing the ingress of cold air. Windows on the first floor of the shrine have also been closed, adapting to the challenging weather conditions.
As the winter grips Amritsar, the Golden Temple stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of devotion, where devotees and volunteers alike brave the elements to uphold the sanctity of their cherished traditions.